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Cheap Wonder Clips

Cheap Wonder Clips for quilt binding

Wonder Clips are my best friend when binding quilts, mug rugs and pot holders. I also use them for joining pieces when knitting sweaters.  No more straight pins for me. They REALLY hold the fabric tight, even all those layers. No more pin pokes or bent pins.

And if you need to use them at the sewing machine, the bottom of the clip is flat so there is no tipping or wobbling.

If you’re going to bind a quilt you’ll need a lot of them, but have you seen the price of them at Joann’s? They want $59.99 for 100!  Or if you want to get just a few and then move them around as needed, you’ll pay a whopping $16.99 for 12 or $7.49 for 10.

Are you kidding me?!

I got 100 Wonder Clips for only $7.99 on Amazon.  Do the math:  $59.99 vs $7.99.

If you need jumbo ones there is a pack of 50 clips, too.

Free Craftsy Classes

Free Craftsy Classes

Have you ever taken a class from Craftsy? I’ve purchased several of them and I’ve always learned new things. My favorite one was Anita Grossman Solomon’s class. She makes complex blocks so simple with just a few slices. Here’s the post I did after I took the class.

Going on through August 27, 2014, there is a list of 35 FREE Craftsy Classes. Just like the paid versions, these free classes are high quality tutorials. If you’ve been on the fence about trying out a class, test drive a free one. Sign up and watch them over and over again at any time. They never expire.  (Secret link: Enter to win a free quilt kit.)

  • The Wilton Method®: Creative Cake Pops
  • Bonsai Wiring Essentials
  • Spectacular Stamping
  • Flawless Finishing
  • Transform Your Garden Design
  • Create Stunning Birthday Cards
  • Amazing Crochet Textures
  • Creative Ways With Whole Grains
  • Complete Knife Skills
  • 2014 Block of the Month: Craftsy Color Theory
  • A New Look at Longarm Quilting
  • Machine Embroidered Classics
  • Piece, Patch, Quilt: Basic Quiltmaking Skills
  • Professional Family Portraits
  • Figure Drawing: An Essential Guide
  • Painting Flowers in Acrylic
  • Sew Ready: Machine Basics
  • Basic Fondant Techniques
  • Ins & Outs of Grafting
  • Mastering Zipper Techniques
  • QuiltCon Lecture Series 2013
  • Pictures to Pixel Quilts
  • Sewing Machine Feet from A to Z
  • Perfect Pizza at Home (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! mmmmm)
  • Creative Cabled Necklines
  • Craftsy Block of the Month 2013
  • The Hand-Painted Cake
  • Bag-Making Basics: Drawstring Bag & Bucket Bag
  • Bag-Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper Pouch
  • Micro Torch Basics
  • Creative Quilt Backs
  • Modern Buttercream
  • Know Your Wool
  • Short Rows
  • Craftsy Block of the Month 2012

Watch classes on your own schedule wherever, whenever you want. Your access never expires.

Scrappy Brick Quilt Stash Buster

Bonnie K Hunter Fun With Bricks

This Scrappy Brick Quilt is a great way to use up scraps. Or do like me, buy more fabric to make some new scraps. And then I wonder why my scrap quilts never put a dent in my scrap pile. LOL Just because something has a lot of different fabric in it, doesn’t always make it a scrap buster, if the pieces are too small, however, this quilt will do it. The rails are narrow which allows for the best use of fabric.

Simple brick layouts come together quickly, but unless you have a perfectly planned color scheme, scrap quilts can get a little too busy and mooshy with no resting place for the eyes.

I saw this scrappy brick quilt this morning that uses white blender prints between the bricks. WOW! It really makes those colors pop, no matter what kind of scraps you’re using. Plus, those light colored blocks can even BE your color scheme. This quilt is also framed it perfectly with the two borders.

I’ve been reviewing my Pinterest quilting pins for ideas for a new baby quilt, but I’ve had a hard time finding something that’s goes together quickly AND has visual impact.

This is the perfect project for all my color coordinated and theme categorized bins of scraps. I’ve also been making fussy cut 5″ squares that would work as a perfect substitution for a few of the rail blocks. I can’t wait to get started.

Scrappy Brick Quilt

Bonnie K Hunter’s ‘Fun With Bricks’

Tumbling Blocks Quilt – Work in Progress

Tumbling Blocks work in progress made with Accuquilt GoBaby

I’ve always wanted to tackle a tumbling blocks quilt, but two things stopped me: ‘Y’ seams and cutting all those diamonds.

I have both an GO! Fabric Cutter and an GO! Baby Fabric Cutter.  I ordered the 4″ diamond die and it arrived this past week. I took Friday off of work so I could be with it.

I wanted the 3D effect for my blocks. The top diamond is light, the lower right diamond is medium and the lower left one is the darkest. I had a blast auditioning fabrics from my stash and found several prints I didn’t even remember having that I can use for other projects.

I’m in love with this block. It goes together so fast and ‘Y’ seams are nothing to be afraid of. Sew 1/4″ seams, start 1/4″ from the beginning and stop 1/4″ from the end. At first I was marking dots on the fabric, but once I got into it, I just eyeballed it.

My GO! Baby really made simple work of it. I cut the recommended 6 layers at a time.

4″ Diamond Die Dimensions

It’s called a 4″ diamond die. Each unfinished side of the diamond is 4″. The actual cutting pad (dark foam portion) is 3-1/2″ wide and 10″ long. So I made sure my fabric was at least 4″ x 10.5″ at the very least.


It’s an absolute must to iron the fabric before cutting. Get all the wrinkles smoothed out. I also hit it with some heavy spray starch to stiffen it up. That worked out really well. It kept the fabric from stretching.

I haven’t decided how big I’m going to make this quilt. I was thinking about a lay on the couch TV-watching throw size. Click on the image for a close-up view.

Tumbling Blocks work in progress made with Accuquilt GoBaby

Zippered Wristlet from Selvages

Zippered Wristlet

I have a 3-day weekend to myself and got some sewing done. I made this little wristlet pouch from selvages. I didn’t take any pictures of the sewing process. I’m just horrible like that. I wanted something small enough to hold my cellphone various debit, credit, store cards when I’m not wearing pants… with pockets in them. Gotcha, didn’t I. LOL

Basically, it’s a quilt-as-you-go technique. I spray basted a piece of cotton batting to a piece of light colored fabric scrap. Then I started sewing selvages on the right side of the pouch panel, overlapping as I moved to the left. I like to leave some of the color from the fabric exposed so it doesn’t show just the pantones and writing. Showing some of the fabric makes a more colorful and interesting finished article.

  • I cut the batting and backing pieced 8″ x 6″. There are two sections, front and back.
  • I sewed the selvages vertically because I had a lot of short pieces. With longer ones, you can also go horizontally, starting at the bottom and working your way up.
  • When I was finished quilting the selvages, I trimmed both front and back sections down to 7.5″ x 5.5″.
  • I cut two pieces of lining to 7.5″ x 5.5″
  • I used a 7″ zipper and trimmed the tails off the end with the zipper stop to shorten it. Next time I’ll chop another 1/2″ off.
  • I sewed tabs onto both ends of the zipper. I guess they were about 1″ long.
  • I squared off the bottom of the pouch and lining so it form a box end about 1″ wide.
  • Somewhere along the line, I sewed in a loop and a D-ring. The loop was some Moda twill I had saved from a layer cake.
  • I pieced together short scraps of selvage to form the wrist strap.
  • I got both the D-rings and the spring closure from Joann’s. (Make sure you buy that stuff with a coupon so you don’t pay their inflated prices.)

HUGE TIP I:  On the zipper installing, I didn’t do any pinning. Instead, I ran a thin line of Elmer’s School Glue along the edge of the zipper then hit it with a dry iron. I learned that trick from a YouTube glue basting quilting video. OMG! It worked like a charm. That zipper didn’t slip at all during sewing. I did it on both sides of the zipper for the quilted part and the lining.

HUGE TIP II:  If you have a problem with the lining stretching while sewing, make sure you cut it parallel to the selvage side of the your fabric. That’s the warp. It doesn’t stretch. If you cut the long side of your lining with the weft (or woof), it’s going to stretch.

Mug Rug Leaves

Mug Rug Leaf

I made these mug rug leaves for Christmas presents. I’ve been working on them off and on for about a month. Today after our team meeting, I am going to present them to my other 11 co-workers. I had a gang of batik scraps and they were perfect for this project. The rectangular one is for my boss. She’s a prolific note taker so the Type typewriters fabric by Julia Rothman for Windham Fabrics was spot on.

The images are a tad yellowish because I didn’t have the flash on. I so suck at taking pictures.

Sewing Can Bridge Bonds and Friendships

By Mary Hindal

Sewing can build self-esteem, give a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, build friendships and help the less fortunate.

While many of us feel that there are not enough hours in a day, month, or year to do everything on our list, it is important to carve out some time for ourselves to relax and help the less fortunate, elderly, vulnerable, under-employed, or those serving overseas. Sewing and crafting have been proven to provide individuals with a sense of relaxation and accomplishment, with sewing for charity being the most rewarding activity of all.

Sewing hats for hospitalized infants or premature babies, warm coats or blankets for the homeless, a stuffed animal for an orphanage, or a pretty Christmas dress for a young girl who may not otherwise have this opportunity available to her can bring joy and fulfillment to your life. The warm fuzzy feeling you get when you think of how your gift helps the infant who is struggling for his or her life will repay you a thousand fold for your time and money. Many volunteer sewers insist that they get more out of what they do for others than what they contribute-these small gestures give a sense of purpose, and that alone is priceless.

Sewing to create unique and special gifts is another opportunity of giving to others while still receiving a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Many find themselves longing for the old days when gifts were handmade, treasured, and passed down for generations. Perhaps sewing a quilt to be passed down from generation to generation will be a start to reinventing the art of sewing in your family. Create some beautiful gifts for the upcoming holiday and begin or reestablish a family tradition.

Sewing can reduce tension and also build meaningful friendships. There are many individuals who love the thought of using their geometry skills to cut and fit pieces together, some who are perfect for color coordinating, and others who excel at putting it all together. Join a local sewing club, take some classes to learn new skills or brush-up on some that have become dusty, or get together with some friends for a Friday Fun Night to form your own think-tank for upcoming projects or charity work. You may find women (or even men) ranging in age from their teens to their 80’s who may be teachers, homemakers, farmers, attorneys, engineers, or physicians, all coming together to make quilts for the needy, battered women and children, the developmentally disabled, or the elderly. Many take pleasure in being together, discussing things that are important to them in their own community or in the world, and creating a beautiful masterpiece-all while building friendships and doing goodwill. They may get together to work on their own projects or work as one to stitch and piece together a larger piece for a church, school, or charity while talking, laughing, sharing stories or simply lending an ear.

Times have changed in the sewing market. It used to be that stores carried a minimal amount of quilting books and patterns. Now most newsstands carry several magazines that cater to quilters, with several hundred different book titles published throughout the years. And then there’s the internet with just about everything one could imagine when it comes to sewing, fabrics and ideas.

So, if you are feeling the need for a project, consider sewing for a charity or to give as creative and personalized gifts. You may find that it will give you a sense of accomplishment, a rewarding experience, and bridge bonds and friendships. is an online fabric store featuring 1000’s of varieties of quilting fabric, flannel fabric, specialty fabric, notions and batting. For the fun of it, or for your business, we provide fabric and supplies for just about any sewing project you can conceive of. We ship anywhere in the U.S. and often within 24-48 hours. Visit our site today

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Quilt Ideas – Quilt Designs for Beginner Quilters

By Rose A Smith

My first point would be that a small project is far more likely to be completed than a large quilt. While a large quilt top can be made first in small parts and then sewn together, it can still be difficult for a beginner to cope with layering and quilting a large project if they have not done it before. This is why I often start beginners on a tote bag, baby quilt or cushion cover. This way they can learn to make patchwork quilts – and find out what the jargon means – relatively quickly. This gives the satisfaction of seeing something beautiful that is hand made and the desire to make another quilt soon follows.

There are several things to look for when searching for quilt designs for beginners. The first and most simple design would be using squares and making a design through the different colours of the fabrics used. This is simple to measure, cut and sew, making it an ideal beginner quilt pattern. Next a pattern that introduces rectangles as well could be attempted. This quilt design will have right angles only, so that the construction is simple, but there is now a bit more complexity introduced by virtue of the differing sizes of the quilt blocks.

One of the most simple quilt design ideas for this stage is the log cabin quilt. This is one of the most traditional quilt blocks, even having been used by the ancient Egyptians. The basic log cabin design is for a red square in the middle which represents the hearth. This is surrounded by frames of rectangles representing the logs. Variety is achieved by using different colours and different widths of rectangles for the logs, giving stunning results when the quilt blocks are sewn together.

Once a beginner quilter has a little confidence, different shapes can be introduced into the quilt design ideas. Triangles are the most obvious next step but it would be best to stick to right angled triangles at first. These are made by cutting two squares of different colours along one diagonal and then sewing two triangles of different colours back together again. This obviously gives you a square again, although it will be a smaller square than those that were originally cut along the diagonal. At this stage the number of quilt designs that can be used by the beginner increase dramatically. Using careful placement of colours, stars and flowers can be created using just squares and half square triangles.

When considering quilt design ideas, it is not only the shape of the quilt blocks that needs to be considered – the size of the blocks also has a bearing. It is more difficult to make a quilt with lots of small, fiddly constituent parts. Big blocks are more easy to work with and also help the quilt to grow more quickly. This again helps the confidence of the quilter.

For more information on learning how to quilt, visit Ludlow Quilt and Sew. Sign up for the free newsletter to receive a simple tutorial for a new beginner quilting project each week.

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Why I Like Pinterest for Quilting Ideas

While I didn’t find this quilting article on Pinterest, I’m going to post it there so others are inspired, too. I get soooo much quilting inspiration from Pinterest.

I found this quilt on Cluck Cluck Sew. I subscribe to Allison Harris’ email updates. Allison can work wonders with fabric. If you’re not already signed up, DO IT!

I know this quilt uses a Briar Rose fabric bundle, but the reason why I am so inspired by this quilt is because it proves that you can do anything with scraps of different sizes. If you’ve been saving scraps in squares and rectangles and wondering how to piece them together, get your inspiration on with this quilt. Don’t even cut those blocks to size. Use those odd shapes for the center block and fill out the rest of the block to approximate size with skinny to wide strips of another fabric. Then trim the block to size. It’s the ultimate stash/scrap buster.

Oh, oh, oh! I’ve been saving a bunch of fabrics with images on them to fussy cut for a Polaroid quilt for my grandson. So cute, but so much work. I think I’ll use them to make Allison’s quilt instead. That way I don’t have to trim the images and that saves me from wasting so much of a beautiful print.

Briar Rose - Cluck Cluck Sew

Click here to visit this quilt.


Tension Guidelines for Sewing Machines

Sewing machine tension dial

By Kathy J Simpson

It is common for a lot of sewers, especially beginners to look the other way when it comes to tension dials and adjustments on their machine for fear of stuffing things up and making things worse. In this article I will review some common tension problems and how to fix them.

To get the best results and form a line of stitches that appear the same on each side of the fabric, an equal amount of thread needs to run from the spool and bobbin at the same time. This is achieved by running the threads through a number of tension devices such as: tension discs, tension regulator on the machine head, thread guides and the bobbin-case spring for the bobbin thread. On some sewing machines, there is also a tiny hole in the bobbin-case finger through which you can feed the bobbin thread in order to increase the tension for a better stitch appearance when embroidering, satin-stitching or top-stitching.

The tension assembly is made up the tension discs and the tension regulator. The way the tension discs work is by how they squeeze the thread as it flows in between them, and the tension regulator changes the level of pressure on the discs.

When turning the tension regulator clockwise to a higher number, the tension discs are moved nearer together which increases the pressure on the thread, whilst turning the tension regulator anti-clockwise will have the reverse effect. An important point to note here is that if you change your thread to a thicker thread than you were previously using, you will be increasing the tension on your thread if you don’t reset the tension regulator correspondingly, resulting in the upper thread flow to decrease unless your machine automatically adjusts this for you. Bobbin tension is not however automatically adjusted and may be required to be manually changed to match.

Guide threads also help increase pressure on the thread, and it is important to make sure your all of your thread guides are threaded before sewing.

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Pressure is applied to the thread that comes out of the bobbin case by the flat bobbin case spring. The amount of pressure can be adjusted by a tiny screw at the back of the spring. To increase the pressure on the thread, the screw should be turned clockwise and anti-clockwise to decrease the pressure. Only turn the screw in very small increments, typically no more than a quarter turn, then test your switch before making any more adjustments. Keep in mind that changing your thread size will also increase the amount of pressure

To determine when your tensions are balanced, your stitch line will look good on each side of the material, with the seam at its strongest. If your bobbin thread is showing on the right side, either your top thread tension is too tight or your bobbin thread is too loose, as is the case if your needle thread is showing on the wrong side. Even when your tensions are balanced, they may still be too loose or too tight. If your tensions are too loose, gaps will show in the seam and expose the threads between the pieces of fabric. If your tensions are too tight, the seam may bundle and pucker up or break really easily when stretched.

To undertake maintenance tension adjustments, find two different colour threads in the particular brand and size that you use. Use one colour for the bobbin thread and the other for the top thread, using a new needle in the most common size that you use. Set your stitch length for the most common length that you intend to sew. Set your upper-tension regulator around the middle of its range. Sew a test seam on two layers of lightweight material and then examine the stitches carefully. If the tension is not perfect and the bobbin thread shows on the right side then tighten the bobbin thread or loosen the bobbin thread if the upper thread shows on the bottom layer.

A handy idea once you have your stitching balanced is to start your own journal in which you can log the different settings on your upper regulator and bobbin screw for different thread brands, sizes and types.

If you intend on switching your standard thread to another one, thread your machine and test the same setup to see if you might only need to do a upper tension dial change. Sew a test seam, and try and find a balance by only changing the upper tension regulator. If that fails, use a second bobbin case and start making adjustments, then testing, and repeating until your happy with the stitch.

Remember that so many different aspects can influence the tension on your thread so before you feel that you have to start making lots of adjustments, check the following things first:

1. Make sure your machine is threaded correctly.

2. Make sure your bobbin is filled correctly according to the machine instructions. Remove any thread from the outside of the bobbin.

3. Make sure your machine is clean.

4. Make sure all machine parts aren’t damaged, such as bent needles and bobbins.

Kathy Simpson

Sew Unique NZ – Custom clothing design, alterations and repairs.

Clothing Alterations Hamilton NZ
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